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Chairman defends magazine after Hamas lawsuit threats

March 15, 2013 11:08 A.M. (Updated: March 23, 2013 11:43 A.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Chairman of the board at Al-Ahram Al-Arabi magazine Mamdouh Al-Wali said Friday that he does not intervene editorially in what the magazine publishes and had no role in the story linking Hamas to the deaths of Egyptian soldiers.

Al-Wali told the Egyptian newspaper al-Watan that there were now contacts between the magazine's editor in chief and Hamas leaders in Gaza to resolve the issue and to post a formal reply by the Palestinian side on Al-Ahram magazine.

A day earlier Hamas’ military wing said it would sue the editor-in-chief of the magazine over a report Thursday accusing Hamas leaders of killing Egyptian soldiers in the northern Sinai.

“We will file legal proceedings against the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram over his false claims,” al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Ubayda told a news conference in Gaza City Thursday.

“Those writers should have prioritized siding with the Palestinian people.”

Abu Ubayda added that the resistance maintained strong relations with both the Egyptian leadership and the people after the revolution. “The Egyptian people know quite well who the al-Qassam Brigades and Gaza resistance are. The people supported resistance and some did not like that.”

The news conference came after Egypt’s attorney general received a notification from a lawyer urging the AG to take into account reports in Al-Ahram Al-Arabi related to an August attack against an Egyptian military base near the border with Gaza in Rafah killing 16 soldiers.

The lawyer, Samir Sabri, wrote that about 32 “terrorists” were involved in the attack, the majority of whom were affiliated to fundamentalist Takfir groups accusing Egypt's army, police and rulers of apostasy.

Egyptian security services, according to the notification, have revealed the names of the suspects, and three were said to be affiliated with Hamas in Gaza.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar denied that any of the three Hamas leaders was involved in the attack on Egyptian soldiers in Rafah. Zahhar described the magazine as a “collaborator with Israel.” He added that the three in question never left the Gaza Strip, and that they were wanted by Israel.

Cairo had previously indicated that some of the gunmen who killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near the Gaza border fence in August had crossed into Egypt via tunnels below the border.

Recent efforts to close the tunnels have angered Hamas officials who were expecting better ties with Cairo following the election last year of President Mohamed Mursi, a fellow Islamist.
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